News Column

Ivo Labar: Kerr & Wagstaffe Attorney Responds to Rise of "Hurricane Deductibles"

Dec 17 2012 12:00AM



SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/17/12 -- In cases of natural disasters, such as hurricanes or major tropical storms, insurance companies are often left with numerous claims from homeowners facing property damage. In the case of hurricanes, insurers have found just how costly these severe storms can be as a result of 1992's Hurricane Andrew and the more recent damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. As such, homeowners in coastal states are often subjected to "hurricane deductibles" that require an upfront out-of-pocket payment based on a percentage scale that ranges from three to five percent. While this deductible can leave homeowners in a financial struggle, a recent article from Fox Business notes that the National Weather Service's downgrade of Hurricane Sandy to a "post-tropical cyclone" could benefit many homeowners whose policies would not require a deductible under the new classification. Although many insurance companies have yet to determine a course of action based on these needs, Ivo Labar Kerr & Wagstaffe insurance law attorney explains that failure to waive the deductible could result in further legal action.

According to the article, "Noting Sandy's diminished status, elected officials in the [East Coast] region declared that homeowners would not be subject to hurricane deductibles." Although this government designation is recognized as an official attempt to regulate the insurance industry, Fox Business recognizes that many providers may still impose a deductible under another percentage-based factor referred to as a "windstorm deductible." Ivo Labar, Kerr & Wagstaffe professional, notes that it is important for the public and insurance companies to recognize that the state officials' declaration is not political interference, and those providers who try to work around Sandy's status may be subject to prolonged legal action.

Considering the historical lack of positive media attention for home insurance providers in relation to storm-related property damage, the article suggests most providers would benefit from waiving the deductibles. Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders tells Fox Business, "Insurance companies should be glad to have this opportunity to get some favorable publicity and just abide by the governors' declaration." While Allstate has already decided to forgo the enforcement of these deductibles, some companies remains undetermined. In response, Ivo Labar Kerr & Wagstaffe concludes, "Insurers who fail to heed state regulators orders on limiting or eliminating deductibles will expose themselves to class action lawsuits for failing to adhere to statutory guidelines."


Ivo Labar is a partner at the Law Firm of Kerr & Wagstaffe, which is based in San Francisco, California. With the rest of the legal professionals at Kerr & Wagstaffe, Ivo Labar provides clients with guidance regarding diverse legal cases, including those tried by state and federal courts. Additionally, Ivo Labar and the rest of the Kerr & Wagstaffe team take on cases for plaintiffs and defendants. Labar is interested in a wide range of practice areas, but he specializes in complex litigation cases. Class action lawsuits, victims' rights, and insurance policyholder rights are of particular interest to Labar. Since starting his career, Labar has assisted clients in recovering over $25 million in settlements and verdicts. He graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

Source: Marketwire

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